Beauty From Ashes Videos


Monday, August 19, 2013

National Training, Horse & Art Camp, Graduation & Sabbatical

Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) Ministries' 10th year of presenting National Trainings was another success with over 20 attendees from across the nation July 17 - 20th at Riverside Church for 3 days  and the 4th day was at our Equine Facility.  The training ended with a team of rookies going on their first strip club outREACH. This year, over 90% of the attendees have already begun doing outREACHes into strip clubs and were seeking not only advice on best practices in executing these outREACHes, but equally important, what to do with the individuals that are coming out of the industry.  Passionate about raising the bar of professionalism in this area and by popular demand, we are extending the 15 module, professionally written curriculum, 4 day training to 5 days in order to expand even more on afterCARE and community collaboration.  Our next training here in Fort Myers, is January 7-11, 2014.  Limited seating to allow for personal ministry.  Registration required.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

Here is some of the feedback we received: 

"Would recommend anyone to take this class"  Dianne Eberly, Crown of Beauty Ministry, Middlesburg, PN.

" . . . practical, relevant information that helps . . . well informed, very clear.  I love how biblically based it is" Aimee Johnson, Rise Up Ministries, Concord, NC.

"This training has been the most thorough & helpful training to date!"  Barbie Ballschmidt, Hearts of Mercies, Naperville, IL.

"The training content was exactly what I was hoping for.  The manual and powerpoint were well thought out and put together.  This was a week well spent,"  Anonymous.

We piloted our first fund raiser Art & Horse Camp July 20th - 26th with 10 individuals, including minors aged 8 through 16 and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!  Attendees not only learned basic horsemanship, they had the opportunity to ride all of the therapy horses (geldings) in addition to learning how to draw, paint, and sculpt horses.  Here is feedback received:

"Thank you so much for ALL you did to make our week wonderful . . . spending the week with you and the horses was a blessing more precious than words!"  Lisa Turner, Next Level Church, Fort Myers, FL

Our next session is August 12 - 16th and we have 4 seats currently available.  All proceeds go to support our Equine Programs.  Call (239) 939-9218 to register.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

Our therapy colt, Morning Star Spirit, suffered a 14" cut across his rib cage 3 weeks ago.  After receiving over 40 stitches and staples, the injury did not prevent him from working during our Horse & Art Camp the following day.  He finished the week out standing perfectly still (taking a nap) as I painted on him for the first time.  For daily updates on him, "like" his fanpage on facebook

I have had the privilege to mentor a teen survivor of domestic sex trafficking through our Equine Programs all summer.  This precious 13 year old committed to getting up very early 3 days a week since May.  Her first time meeting a horse was through our program almost a year ago.  Though I had not planned for this type of "internship/apprentice" program, when the directors of Wings of Shelter contacted me and asked me if I would be willing to do it, I knew I was supposed to.  Here is what they told me, "THANK YOU sweetheart, for sharing what you are and do with **** - she is very, very blessed to have you in her life".  The 
Teen Intern stated "It's been one of the best experiences of my life, thank you."  Plans have been made to have her continue working with me throughout the school year and I'm looking forward to watching what God does with this beautiful overcomer's life. 

This month I'd like to acknowledge a new, very hard working, and reliable volunteer, Joanne Walker.  Mrs. Walker is a local school teacher who has put in countless hours volunteering at BFA over the summer.  Doing everything from equine and barn care, to administration, assisting with presentations, and providing me with additional nutritional supplements to keep me healthy, her faithful acts of service have not gone unnoticed.  Thank you Joanne!  The ministries of Beauty From Ashes™ have been truly blessed by you this summer.

CLICK HERE for our current needs if you're looking for a way you can partner with Florida's 1st and only human trafficking, overcomer-led, community, service agency.

We truly believe that human trafficking awareness leads to prevention, intervention, and restoration, and in the past year and half, we have participated in over 85 events, reaching nearly 5000 people.  Ranging from 20-90 minutes, our multi-media presentations have been presented to ages 8 through 80+.  Venues include social service agencies, churches, universities, health departments, prisons, nursing associations, Girl Scouts, and country clubs.  To view our upcoming events, CLICK HERE.  To schedule an overcomer to speak at your event or to invite BFA, CLICK HERE. 

It's official, on Sunday, August 4th, I graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) with a Master of Arts degree from the School of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling!  It's been a strenuous 3 and half years of full time school in addition to running BFA and being a wife, but it has finally come to fruition.  The scripture that was my promise that I could do it was Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  My goal was to finish strong and I am pleased to share that I graduated with a 4.0 overall GPA. To God be the glory!

With the completion of such a huge undertaking, I am planning on taking a sabbatical August 17 - September 17.  I plan to rest and seek God's direction with my life and BFA.  During this period all operations and services will also be on pause, except for our Twitter & Facebook fanpage.  I've made arrangements for our clients to see partner counselors during this time and asked my staff and volunteers to rest, fast, and pray with me.

Four plus years ago I did not foresee the direction God led me in professionally or personally and as the scriptures tell us, there is a season to everything,  I know that my graduation marked the closing of a season.  God has done exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond what I ever asked for, dreamed or imagined in the past 10+ years.

I believe this was due to His grace, but also my willingness to do whatever He wanted me to do, go where ever He wanted me to go, and say what ever He wanted me to say . . . even when I didn't understand why and it was very hard and difficult to do.  It required that I put aside my agenda and embrace His.  He has fulfilled His promise of Jeremiah 29:11 to me for good plans, a future, and to prosper me.  Based on my experience of 7 years spent in captivity that was the result of me not totally submitting to His will (partial disobedience is rebellion to God) and seeing what He's done with the mess I made of my life when I tried to live it on my terms, it's my will to be in the absolute center of His will for my life personally and the ministries of Beauty From Ashes™.

I look forward to this new season for me and BFA and the time of rest and intimacy I will have with Him over this 30 day period.  Me being a visionary, God has enabled me in the development and sustainability of many programs that have expanded to assist other organizations in providing best practices, faith based, delivery of services to more survivors than I ever imagined being able to help.  I am truly grateful.  I will be seeking God's confirmation and affirmation, and strategic planning for the ministries of BFA for the end of the end year and for 2014 during this time.  After all, BFA is His ministry, not mine, I have only been entrusted as a steward of it.  And as a steward, I want only to be faithful.  Additionally, I've had people tell me for years and years that I need to write a book and I've told them once I complete schooling I will seriously consider it.  Well, that time has arrived; hence, I need to figure out what God wants me to focus on next.  Not my will, but His be done.

As a note of interest, I believe He's already opened some major doors of opportunity for BFA in the past two weeks that I want to make for certain are of Him and His perfect timing.  I'm not making any major decisions until my sabbatical is over.  Your prayers during this time period will be greatly appreciated.  I look forward to reporting to you what He reveals. 

MOTHLY ePRAYER ALERT:  For details of how to pray for BFA during the monthes of August and September, CLICK HERE.
PRAYER REQUESTS:  Because we believe that prayer changes things, we are honored to pray for you and your families! Please send your prayer requests to

WEEKLY GLOBAL PRAYER:  Join us in spirit from wherever you are every Friday morning 8-9am EST and for a prayer guide, CLICK HERE.


DONATIONS:  Our program and operational costs are funded through private donations.  Our monthly operational costs are approximately $4000.  Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift today.  For secure online giving CLICK HERE or send your financial gift to 13300 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 56, Fort Myers, FL 33907.  Thank you!

In closing, I cannot thank those of you that have supported me, the vision and ministries of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries enough.  Especially, those that stood beside me as we watched God ordain my steps apart from the plans I  . . . or we may of made.  Your steadfastness and faithfulness have been a demonstration of the character of God.  THANK YOU.  On behalf of myself, volunteers, interns, clients, and board, we thank you for partnering with us to reach, rescue, and restore victims of s*xual exploitation, abuse, trafficking. Together we have made a difference and I know for certain, that the BEST is yet to come!

Finally, I will leave you with the scripture I will be relying on during my sabbatical (I don't think it's a coincidence that FGCU's mascot is an eagle):

"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired."   Isaiah 40:31  AMP
In His love and service,

Julie Shematz, MA
Founder & President
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers

"Survivors must be leaders in the development of services, shelter, and response protocols to s*x trafficking.” 
- National Report on Domestic Minor S*x Trafficking